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Nat Rev Immunol. 2003 Jan;3(1):36-50.

Viral mimicry of cytokines, chemokines and their receptors.

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Department of Medicine and Division of Virology, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Level 5, Box 157, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK.


Viruses have evolved elegant mechanisms to evade detection and destruction by the host immune system. One of the evasion strategies that have been adopted by large DNA viruses is to encode homologues of cytokines, chemokines and their receptors--molecules that have a crucial role in control of the immune response. Viruses have captured host genes or evolved genes to target specific immune pathways, and so viral genomes can be regarded as repositories of important information about immune processes, offering us a viral view of the host immune system. The study of viral immunomodulatory proteins might help us to uncover new human genes that control immunity, and their characterization will increase our understanding of not only viral pathogenesis, but also normal immune mechanisms. Moreover, viral proteins indicate strategies of immune modulation that might have therapeutic potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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